Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis

The canine infectious tracheobronchitis is also known as the kennel cough and is a respiratory infection that affects the upper respiratory system. The infection is very common and is more frequently met in dogs that have been in kennels. The infection may be caused by the Bordetella virus; for this reason, tracheobronchitis is also known as Bordetellosis.

Causes of Tracheobronchitis

Tracheobronchitis may be caused by several factors, but most commonly by viruses such as:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Parainfluenza
  • Mycoplasma
  • Adenovirus (especially type 2)
  • Canine herpes virus

Symptoms of Tracheobronchitis

The symptoms of tracheobronchitis will be similar regardless of the virus that causes the infection. However, if the infection is caused by the parainfluenza virus, the symptoms will be less severe and will typically go away in up to 6 days; while in the case of tracheobronchitis caused by other viruses, the symptoms may be present for 10 days on average and up to 3 weeks.

Typically, the symptoms of tracheobronchitis will be visible after 2 to 14 days after the exposure.

The symptoms of tracheobronchitis will include:

  • Dry cough
  • Nasal discharge that is transparent
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • Pneumonia, if the infection advances to the lungs

Diagnosis of Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis

The vet will make a diagnosis judging by the symptoms displayed by the dog and he will also ask you if the dog has been recently exposed to a kennel. The vet will perform tests such as blood analysis and bacterial cultured, virus isolation, so that the causing agent is detected.

Treatment Options

The treatment will be established judging by the virus that causes the infection and the severity of the symptoms.

If the dog has mild symptoms, the vet may not recommend any medication treatment, as the infection should clear without medication.

If the infection causes more severe symptoms, the vet will prescribe oral antibiotics. Doxycycline, amoxicillin or trimethoprim sulfa are often prescribed in dogs with tracheobronchitis.

Bronchodilators may also be prescribed to relieve the cough. Aminophylline is an effective drug that may be used in canines. Cough suppressants and aerosol therapy may also be used to stop the coughing.

In severe cases, the vet may recommend steroids, however, the steroids may suppress the dog's immunity and shouldn't be used for a long time. The steroids shouldn't be discontinued abruptly. In severe cases the vet should prescribe medication to avoid the advancement of the infection and pneumonia.

The neck collar of the dog should also be removed until the dog gets better, as this may irritate the throat.

Prevention of Tracheobronchitis

Tracheobronchitis may be prevented through the administration of a few vaccines. However, the vaccination is not always effective and it also takes up to 2 weeks for the vaccine to be effective.

An infected dog may be a carrier of the virus for up to 14 weeks after the condition is treated. Consequently, reducing your pet's exposure to dogs that have been infected may reduce the chances of getting the tracheobronchitis infection.